Thursday, December 07, 2006

When horses fly.

Pegasus (, another experiment in user-oriented content management on a news site, launched this week out of Dallas, Texas. The general idea is you sign up and Pegasus tracks which stories you click on. (Most of which are hyper-local.) Once it gets enough information (how much is enough, I'm not sure), it starts listing stories you might be interested in. If you read a lot of stories about a certain school, say, or lots of restaurant reviews, it'll list those stories first in their respective sections. Also, you can register in a certain neighborhood, and Pegasus can start directing you to those stories immediately, without gathering info about where you click the most.
It seems like a good idea, and the people down in Texas compare themselves to Amazon's book and music recommendations, except with news. Plus, the layout is inviting and simple. Layouts at other "cutting-edge" news sites, like Digg and the Fort-Myers News Press, are cluttered and look somewhat sketchy, as if viruses are lurking behind every link. Those turn me off immediately; I just want to get away from those sites as fast as possible. But Pegasus is lovely. The site uses bright colors and big buttons on the top for each section: Metro, Business, Living, etc. The top stories are listed along the left, by section (this is, I imagine, where "The Daily You" stories will be); on the right there's a calendar, a list of today's events, and the latest user comments - interspersed with ads, of course.
But the news content itself is a lot of fluff. Well, not fluff per se, but the stories are very short, often written in first person and often riding the coattails of reporting done by other Dallas sources. The news stories come off more like blog posts, and I'm not sure that's what Pegasus is going for.
Also of note: no news video on the site, but several of the ads come with YouTube spots. One, for a new "healthy" Dallas-brewed beer, is a local newscast about said beer. Another is a dramatic video of a "laptop deathmatch" party at a local bar for New Year's Eve. These aren't really short, either; the deathmatch one lasts a minute and a half.
Also, a banner ad on the site encourages people to register for The Daily You feature, because, "all the cool kids are doing it." The graphic is a cartoon of two teenagers; one is smoking, and offering a cigarette to the other.
(On a sidenote, I can't seem to get links up correctly, so if you're interested, you'll have to poke around yourself.)

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